Kaweah Commonwealth - Three Rivers

News and Information of KAWEAH COUNTRY - Three Rivers,

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Lemon Cove and Woodlake

Visitor Information:
Three Rivers
Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon National Park
Real Estate
Local History
Travel Information
Weekly News and Features
Weekly Weather
Calendar of Events
Property Rentals
Columns/ Opinions
Readers Poll
Newspaper Archives

Live Web Cam of
Sequoia National Park,
the High Sierra,
and Three Rivers, California


Kaweah Kam

AddThis Feed Button



In the News - Friday, June 7, 2013






Woodlake High School grad photos and scholarships



Santa Teresita officially opens

    Celebrating the 50th anniversary of St. Anthony Retreat and the grand opening of a the multi-million dollar Santa Teresita Youth Conference Center last weekend (May 31-June 2) attracted a host VIPs to Three Rivers.
     Among them was Bishop Armando X. Ochoa, who was in Three Rivers to bless these important milestones and the recently completed good works of the Diocese of Fresno. Bishop Ochoa was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Fresno on February 1, 2012.
    “It was more than I expected; a great atmosphere, a great turnout, and the Bishop’s blessing was very powerful,” reported Vince Olea, the youth camp’s director.
     Vince said the entire weekend was fun-filled and featured gratitude and praise for the contractors who made the project a success. In a speech on Friday, Father John Griesbach likened the completion of Santa Teresita to the Kevin Costner classic film Field of Dreams.
    “…Build it and they will come… and build it out of love for the children,” Father John told the adoring audience some of whom were the contactors who had ensured the success of the project.
     Bishop Ochoa, always one to set a pious example, started an endowment with $1,000 of his own money to help those who might not be able to afford to come to camp.

Ranch fire consumes outbuilding and contents

    A midday blaze at 42811 Kaweah Drive (formerly Sierra View Catfish Farm) consumed two tons of hay bales, a travel trailer, firewood, horse jumps, and other miscellaneous items that were housed inside a 30-by-70-foot storage building. No people or animals that occupy the historic ranch property were injured in the blaze.
     Elizabeth Greenamyer, who lives at the ranch and was in Visalia at 12:23 p.m. when the fire was reported, said the lack of any casualties was due to the incredible response of neighbors and the local fire department. Neighbors had all the animals out in minutes and made sure nobody or any animals were inside any of the property’s buildings.
     Elizabeth said her niece, who is visiting from New York and was walking on Kaweah River Drive at the time the blaze, arrived back home just as the fire was taking off. She was amazed how all the neighbors rushed over and knew exactly what to do.
    “That’s just how neighbors do it in Three Rivers,” Elizabeth said she told her.
Once firefighters were on the scene, it took about 15 minutes to get the blaze contained and extinguish all the nearby hot spots.
    “When we poured water on the flames and got the fire contained to the hay bales we started spreading out the burned and burning bales to make certain the fire was extinguished,” said Jason Smith, a Cal Fire firefighter who was with one of the first units to arrive on the scene. “When we could see the fire was not getting into the wildland all the state resources that were already en route were cancelled.”
     Jason, who is assigned to Three Rivers for the fire season, said that his unit stayed to mop up under the terms of the mutual-assist agreement CalFire has with Tulare County. A Three Rivers contractor working in the area furnished a backhoe and the mop-up job was completed in a couple of hours.
    “Without that neighbor’s help and only our hand tools that job would have taken a lot longer,” Jason said.
     Fire investigators believe that a light duty extension cord furnished the spark that caused the blaze. An estimated value of the loss in the fire was not immediately known.

Missing Bakersfield man found in Sequoia

Crash victim survived for four days before being found

    Fred Porter, 63, from Bakersfield was found alive by searchers in Sequoia National Park on Saturday, June 1, after being stranded on a steep hillside in the park for four days. Dozens of searchers from several agencies had been looking for Porter since his family reported him missing on May 28.
     A Sequoia National Park dispatcher received a “Be on the Lookout” notice for Porter’s 2002 burgundy Toyota Tacoma pickup from the Bakersfield Police Department on May 28.   Two days later, the missing man’s family contacted the Park Service indicating that Porter might be in the local national parks.
     On May 30, park staff reviewed surveillance video from the Ash Mountain entrance station and confirmed that Porter had entered the park on May 28. An intensive search was undertaken for the next two days until a searcher onboard the parks’ helicopter spotted the truck in steep brush a quarter mile north and 300 feet below the Deer Ridge overlook along the Generals Highway.
    When rescuers reached the scene of the crash Porter was found alive, but severely dehydrated and without medication for an undisclosed medical condition.
     During the victim’s ordeal, temperatures in the Deer Ridge vicinity at 5,000 feet ranged from the low 40s at night to the 70s during the day. Those elements were believed to have an effect on the victim’s condition and survival. The Deer Ridge scenic overlook is 12.5 miles up the Generals Highway from the Ash Mountain entrance station and about four miles below Giant Forest.
     After being airlifted up to the highway, the victim was transported to Kaweah Delta Medical Center via the Exeter ambulance. A hospital spokesperson stated later that Porter was treated and in “good condition.”
     The circumstances surrounding the crash remain under investigation. According to Dana Dierkes, parks public information officer, there were no skid marks on the roadway where the vehicle went over the edge.

Three Rivers family is victim of hit-and-run

    The Lowe family has certainly had their share of tough luck when in the vicinity of Highway 198. Son David was hit in the Three Rivers School crosswalk four years ago and narrowly escaped being killed or seriously injured.
     After an accident just up canyon from the Deer Canyon Estates entrance on the night of Tuesday, June 4, the Lowes are again counting themselves among the lucky to be alive.    That’s when David (father), wife Leona, and three passengers (son, daughter, and a friend) were returning from a grocery-shopping trip in Visalia around 11:30 p.m.
    “When I came around the corner, there was a black pickup truck in my lane that fishtailed and then hit us,” David said. “Everything just went black and, for a moment, I did everything I could to keep from hitting the cliff or going off the other side of the roadway.”
     The impact of the crash knocked the battery of Lowe’s Kia Sorrento haywire and everything went pitch black inside the vehicle to match the total darkness outside.
     The black truck immediately fled the scene. The Lowes were left stranded with a disabled vehicle in the pitch dark roadway. Any approaching motorist could have failed to stop, making a scary accident even a worse tragedy.
     But almost immediately, other motorists pulled over to help and were directing oncoming traffic around the crash scene. The accident victims, none who were seriously injured, regained their composure while awaiting the arrival of the CHP.
     Apparently, nobody got a really good look at the phantom black truck. One witness said it appeared to be a lifted truck, vintage late-1980s or early 1990s.
     The accident remains under investigation by the CHP.
     Anyone with information about the whereabouts of the truck, which will certainly have some recently acquired damage, or who may have witnessed the accident is asked to call the Visalia CHP at 734-6767.

WHS Art Department’s most

talented artists join the Memory Project

   The Memory Project is a service-learning project in which advanced high school artists create original portraits for children living in orphanages around the world. To do this, the artists receive pictures of children who are waiting for portraits, and then work in their classrooms to create the portraits.
     Once finished, the portraits are delivered to the children, and the children are then invited to create drawings or write letters to send back to the artists.
     The local project is overseen by WHS art teacher Deanna Bowers. This year, the students received photographs of children in Africa to recreate.
     One purpose of the project is to provide children in orphanages with special keepsakes that honor their sense of self-identity and build their self-esteem.
     An additional purpose of the project is to raise awareness of the needs and rights of the children in orphanages around the world.
     During the debut school year of the project, 2004-2005, approximately 500 portraits were produced for children in Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, and Nepal by artists representing various high schools throughout the United States. The next school year, 2005-2006, the project continued to spread, and nearly 3,000 portraits were produced for children in numerous countries.
     On September 5, 2006, the Memory Project was featured at the end of Katie Couric’s debut newscast as anchor of the CBS Evening News. That publicity fueled the project’s growth, leading to an annual participation level of 5,000 artists from high schools throughout the U.S.
     The Memory Project was started by Ben Schumacher of Wisconsin while he was still in college. Today, as a teacher, the project continues and thousands of portraits have been delivered to youth in developing countries, most of whom aren’t even in possession of a baby photo of themselves.
     If this project inspires you to get involved there are financial needs that must be met to continue its success. For instance, teachers must pay $15 per portrait to participate, which helps pay for travel expenses related to the delivery of the portraits. Contact Deanna Bowers, Woodlake High School, 564-3307, for more information.
     The Memory Project, a nonprofit organization, also accepts donations. By mail: The Memory Project, 2163 Gateway St. North, Middleton, WI 53562-3403. Online: www.memoryproject.org/donate.php. All donations are tax-deductible.

Retiring ranger has Sequoia-Kings Canyon history

    Scott Isaacson, a former ranger at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, will retire after 39 years with the National Park Service. Scott began his career as a volunteer intern in 1973.
     He has worked at parks throughout the U.S. and returned to Sequoia-Kings Canyon several times in his career, including the summers of 1975 through 1977, including one summer as the backcountry ranger at Rae Lakes in Kings Canyon. He returned in 1980 as a permanent ranger.
     It was while at Cedar Grove in 1982 that he met and married his wife, Susan Ford. Susan is the granddaughter of Horace Albright, the second director of the National Park Service. The couple resided there until 1986.
     Scott eventually made his way to Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is from where he will be retiring. A retirement party will be held there on Saturday, June 29 (if attending, RSVP by June 15 to 503-595-6162).


Music camp will feature acclaimed violinist Nigel Armstrong

By Bill Haxton

    If you go looking for Nigel Armstrong, you’ll find him right at the top of the new generation’s history-making crop of young virtuoso violinists.
     According to Jeffrey Kahane, one of classical music’s living legends and director of the world famous Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Nigel has “technique to burn... but to find that depth of musicianship in a young person is very unusual.”
     And of course, that’s where the magic lives, in that all-too-rare marriage of technique and soul that transforms notes on paper into a soaring triumph of song.
     The magic? Nigel has it. Which probably explains his superb showing as a finalist at the 14th Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow, Russia, where he was the highest ranked American and won the award for his performance of the newly commissioned work Stomp by renowned composer John Corigliano.
     When he performs in Three Rivers on Saturday, June 22, his music program will resurrect a once popular concert format that in our time has all but disappeared — the virtuoso solo recital. Just a violin, a piano, an audience, and some of the most moving and memorable music ever written for four strings.
     The show opens with Ernest Chausson’s beautifully lyrical and deeply moving Poème, written in 1896 for French mezzo soprano Pauline Viardot whose magnetic beauty and Olympian talent broke the heart of nearly everyone who met her.
     Guiseppi Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata in G Minor follows. Written sometime after 1744, it came from a dream of Tartini’s that can only be described as Faustian.
     Tartini was on the run, hiding out in an Italian monastery after a secret marriage to one of his students. In Tartini’s dream, the devil appears. But Tartini didn’t wake in a cold sweat.   Instead, he gathered himself and brashly asked the devil to play the violin. The devil, probably somewhat amused and in no particular hurry to take possession of this apparently wayward soul, figuring he’d get him someday anyway, complied, performing an entire sonata in four movements. After a brief negotiation over the terms that would govern his afterlife Tartini awoke, spread a blank page on his desk and began writing what the devil had played. It’s a beautiful piece of music.
     The second half opens with Heinrich Ernst’s clever and energetic rendering of a Schubert song into a composition for virtuoso violin. Fast and unrelenting, it may remind some audiences of really hot bluegrass fiddle.
     Bela Bartok’s Solo Sonata forms the centerpiece of the second half. Inspired by Bach’s immortal Chaconne from Partita #2 in D minor, it achieves a profound depth of expression that is easily accessible and carries several direct melodic and harmonic references to Bach.  The gorgeous third movement is serene, ethereal.
     Nigel closes the show with Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane, a titanic composition inspired by Gypsy folk melodies and Gypsy fiddling technique. Tzigane is one of those benchmark pieces that separate the good from the great violinists. And it’s really pleasurable to hear, full of charm and mischief and high-spirited humor, occasionally inebriated.
     The concert takes place at the Three Rivers Community Presbyterian Church at 8 pm. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at www.CenterStageStrings.com and at the door.
While on the website, check out the other concerts and master classes that will be given during the Music Camp.

Notice of deaths

Louise Prusek
1919 ~ 2013

     Naomi Louise Prusek, a former resident of Three Rivers, died April 24, 2013, in Visalia.  She was born September 11, 1919, and was 93 at the time of her death.
     She was preceded in death by her husband, Ben F. Prusek (October 20, 1919-July 7, 2006).

Jeffrey Maynard
1958 ~ 2013

     Jeffrey Eugene Maynard, a former resident of Three Rivers, died Friday, May 31, in Atlanta, Ga. He was 54.
     Jeffrey was born October 13, 1958, in Boston, Mass. He was raised in Three Rivers and attended Three Rivers School and Woodlake High School.
     Services are pending.



THE KAWEAH COMMONWEALTH is published every Friday in Three Rivers, California.
EDITORS/PUBLISHERS: John Elliott and Sarah Barton Elliott
41841 Sierra Drive (Highway 198), Three Rivers, CA 93271
MAIL: P.O. Box 806, Three Rivers, CA 93271
(559) 561-3627 FAX: (559) 561-0118
© Copyright 2003-2013 The Kaweah Commonwealth